15 January 2010

Loren Cass

Written & Directed by: Chris Fuller
Full credits at IMDb

The circa '97 St. Petersburg of Loren Cass, a classy low-budget indie about Floridian disaffection, is somnolent and sickly and sad: while sleepy jazz seeps from car stereos, and blacktops are so devoid of cars you can lie right down on them, the gas stations and city buses are bathed in an emetic green glow, the diners awash in blue shadows like the cover of a Sinatra record. By day, it's a sunny American town; by night, it's on the verge of dissolution, disintegration: the high school hallways are eerily empty, the traffic signs corroded--even the graffiti is fading. The streets, meanwhile, pulsate with violence.

Set in the aftermath of the 1996 riots sparked off by a police shooting, Loren Cass features spurts of abrupt, seemingly unprovoked, racially motivated melees that recede just as quickly as they erupted. The fists flail between angsty young men; the adults are absent: either asleep in front of a staticky television, sitting stock still in their easy chairs, or sneaking swigs from a desk drawer bottle. (The film's only young woman is too busy waiting tables and bedding men of all colors to get involved.)

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